Evolution of Morality, with note on "cultural

Wed Aug 16 18:04:23 MDT 1995

	 selection" -Reply

I agree entirely with your first 2 and 1/2 points, Paul.  Also, it
was not my original desire to address the "evolution of moral
capacity", but the thread seemed to lead here at the time.  The
reconstruction of any past events may be "speculative" in proportion
to the lack of direct evidence, and due to the fact that we cannot go
back and find out [assuming even that would help us all agree on what
happened!]  At least in DarwinEvol speculation, there is a coherent
body of theory to use to guide plausible reconstructions, as well as
possibly relevant data.

I expect it may be useful because I do expect that the reasons for
the origin of some behavior are often related to the current reasons.

BTW, I am a proponent of the view of the brain as a generalized
problem-solving device (working primarily for the body/genes it lives
in), rather than invoking a separate "mental organ" for each
"ability".  This could be considered a version of the "side-effects"
theory, in the sense that one "structure" can do multiple things, but
that doesn't mean it has to.  If it is generally flexible, then it
can just as easily do or not do anything within its abilities.  I
mean, just because we _can_ do "morality" doesn't mean we had/have

This brings me to the question of Why does anybody make moral claims
now?  Yes, we were/are socially constructed to do so, to believe that
there is such a thing, etc. but is that all there is to it?  It
doesn't seem a complete explanation.

[reference to list topic]:  I was wondering if anyone would offer up
or work out here on "marxian morality" or "revolutionary morality",
but now I wonder if the texts on the topic that were suggested to me
were also the end of that thread.  I'll get right on those books, and
maybe you'll all still be here when I'm done.


>>> Paul Cockshott <wpc at clyder.gn.apc.org>  8/15/95, 09:41pm >>>
It seems to be rather speculative to discuss the evolution of moral
capacity in that:
1. We have no scientific concept of morality, no clear criterion
   for saying when and where it exists.
2. It is unclear that it even designates something that actually
3. If it does exist, we have no reliable data on how long it has
   existed for. If it exists and has only existed for a comparatively
   short time, it may not have existed for long enough for selection
   to eliminate it.
4. If it does exist and has existed for a long time, it may be a
   side effect of some other aspect of cognative development whose
   elimination would be deleterious in Darwinian terms.
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